New Formula E season just days away for Renault e.dams team

Renault’s adventure with the French e.dams team in the globally celebrated FIA Formula E Championship recommences this Saturday (24 Oct) as Beijing in China hosts the start of a new season for the all-electric single-seater racing car category.
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Renault’s vast knowledge of automotive electric power made it a natural technical partner to Formula E for the championship’s inaugural 2014/15 season.

For season two (2015/16), however, the French manufacturer has become the exclusive supplier of powertrains to the e.dams squad jointly owned by Jean-Paul Driot and four-times Formula 1 World Champion Alain Prost. Its drivers remain Prost’s son Nicolas and ex-F1 racer, Swiss Sebastien Buemi. Renault e.dams won 2014/15 Formula E Teams Championship title while Buemi finished a close second in the drivers’ standings.

Renault is one of eight manufacturers selected by the FIA to develop powertrains – specifically the e-motor, inverter, gearbox and cooling system – for Formula E’s second season. The French constructor is providing the Renault e.dams team with its own Z.E.15 powertrain which has been developed at Renaultsport’s headquarters at Viry Chatillon.

Ultimately the technology developed for Formula E by Renaultsport could benefit Renault’s ground-breaking Z.E range of road cars.

Prost Snr commented: “I think we’re looking good this year. Everyone will have to bring the level of performance, organisation, discipline just a little bit higher this season.

“Obviously last season was the first season and year of learning for all of the teams using the same cars. So this year is going to be tough, especially with all the new technology. We don’t know where we will be strong or not as strong so consistency is really key. However, with such a strong backing from Renault and their wealth of experience will be a real help. Hopefully we can really fight for both titles this season.”

All ten ‘e-Prix’ events on the Formula E calendar will be held on specially designed street circuits (see dates and venues below).

All cars are limited to 28kW/h plus energy recovered under braking so Renault e.dams will carry out simulations of each circuit to gauge aerodynamic settings which have a significant impact on energy consumption (just as they would with cars using petrol). Other critical areas are gear ratios plus the cooling systems for both the car’s battery and motor.

Power for the cars has been increased in race mode from 150kW to 170kW, although 200kW will remain available for drivers to use in qualifying sessions. After qualifying each car will be fully re-charged inside an hour – the time gap before the race. This is via a charger specially developed for Formula E’s batteries which uses an industrial 128Amp three-phase electric grid.

Renaultsport’s Formula E Project Manager Vincent Gaillardot explained: “Top-end speed derives from the regulations, which set the maximum power allocation and define the car’s aerodynamics, as well as from circuit layouts. Current top speeds reach around 215kph and, when using the 170kW permitted in race trim, the car can go from 0 to 100kph in four seconds flat.”

For UK fans, every race will be broadcast live on ITV4 – this Saturday’s race from Beijing is at 8.00am – with further highlights shown on BT Sport. Formula E’s 2015/16 race dates are:

Round(s)      Date                           Venue
1                      24 October                 Beijing, China
2                      7 November              Putrajaya, Malaysia
3                      19 December            Punta del Este, Uruguay
4                      6 February                 Buenos Aires, Argentina
5                      19 March                   To be decided
6                      2 April                         Long Beach, USA
7                      23 April                      Paris, France
8                      21 May                       Berlin, Germany
9                      4 June                        Moscow, Russia
10 & 11          To be confirmed       London, UK